Group E – Kick-off 19:45 (BST)
Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli has called for calm ahead of Tuesday’s visit of Lyon, as the Viola attempt to qualify for the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in a decade.
Opponents Lyon are already through, yet they have vowed to give their all as they look to avoid the same fate as last season when a second-placed finish left them with a last-16 tie against Barcelona, the eventual winners.
“We are really happy and thrilled today because I know this could be the most important game of our season,” said Prandelli. “The entire squad has to face this situation with enthusiasm, bearing in mind that this is going to be a fundamental match for our future.
“The adrenalin rises ahead of important matches like this. It’s imperative to be aware we need to do a great job both mentally and physically. The team must play the game in a calm manner. We know the mistakes we’ve made in Serie A, but now we’re fully concentrated on this Champions League match.
“Lyon are a team with both experience and physical strength. They’re having a slightly difficult time but all teams go through spells like this.”
Prandelli, who is without injured duo Alessandro Gamberini and Adrian Mutu, will give a late fitness test to Stevan Jovetic
Lyon coach Claude Puel, who will be without the likes of Anderson, Anthony Réveillere, Maxime Gonalons and Jeremy Toulalan through injury, insisted that his players were determined to finish top of the group.
“Our goal is to be first in the group – we don’t intend to make the same mistake as last year, when we qualified in second place and then faced the strongest team in the competition in the last 16,” he said.
“Finishing first is something the squad really wants and that shows our mentality; the entire squad has the same goal. We need to focus on our collective strength. We plan to come here and impose ourselves on the game, but know that will be difficult.
“We played in Florence last season and produced one of our best displays in the Champions League. Fiorentina have more or less the same team as last year. They remain strong, hard to play and always dangerous.”